I have a few dear friends who’ve had a pain-in-the-tail kind of a year, to put it lightly. The nature of the pains-in-the-tail vary, but suffice to say they’ve all been astronomically busy doing damage control. Because of this, other goals they’d been working on have had to go by the wayside.
When one is working to pay off debt, life often comes along and kicks their debt payoff goals in the pants for several weeks or months. If this happens to you and you are feeling like you need to take a break from debt payoff and focus on other things, don’t worry. There are things you can do to still manage your debt while avoiding the super-stringent debt payoff plan you may have originally put in place.
If you’re in the midst of a debt payoff plan that’s been derailed by a longer-term crisis, never fear. Here’s how to make sure your debt payoff plans don’t get too far off track, even with the lack of attention you’re able to give them.
- Do What You Can. If you’re able to, at least have a budget you are committed to and continue tracking your spending. It takes but a minute to put expenses on a spreadsheet each day, and a budget can be written up in a half-hour time period once a month. If you can keep these two tenets of debt payoff in place, you’ll be able to help avoid getting entirely off track.
- Avoid Using Spending to Cope. If you’re an emotional spender, it can be easy to use spending to try and provide temporary relief for the stressful situation you’re up against. If this is you, try making a list of other, non-spending things you can do to cope with the stress. Some ideas:
- Go for a walk with a friend or work out
- Take a warm bath with Epsom Salts
- Watch a light-hearted comedy movie
- Talk it out with a trusted confidante
- Clean or organize something
- Play – with your kids, your dog, your spouse or whatever
By putting some stop-gaps in place that will help you avoid emotional spending, you can help ensure your debt doesn’t grow larger during this stressful time.
3. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Worrying About Money. Instead, focus your energy on resolving the crisis at hand, or at least doing what you can do to make things better.
4. Don’t Panic if You’ve Already Backslid on Your Debt Payoff Plan. Is it too late? Has your stressful crisis situation already caused you to drop back down into serious debt? If so, don’t panic. When you’ve fallen off the wagon during debt payoff, you’ve got two choices: give up and stay in debt forever, or get back on the wagon and start riding again. As the old saying goes:
There is no failure except in no longer trying. -Elbert Hubbard, American writer
Friends, we all go through periods in life where we simply cannot focus on our goals. If you’re going through one of those times, hang in there, stand strong, and hold tight. You’re stronger than you know.
*Photo courtesy of Simon Cunningham